A Dublin waste contractor has been fined €10,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for unauthorised ‘recovery’ of inert waste at an illegal dump in Co Wicklow.

Anthony Dean had pleaded guilty to undertaking the recovery of lorry loads of waste at the landfill number four section of the 47-acre site of John O'Reilly's land at Whitestown, Baltinglass, without licence between 1 January and 1 May, 1998.

Dean, of Woodhaven in Milltown, is owner of Dean Waste trading as A1 Waste.

‘Recovery’ in relation to waste is defined under the Waste Management Act 1996 as activities carried on, for, or related to the purposes of reclaiming, recycling, or reusing waste.

The maximum penalty is a €10m fine or 10 years imprisonment or both.

Judge Desmond Hogan noted that Dean's circumstances had become ‘straightened’ in recent times and said he was imposing the €10,000 fine in the exceptional circumstances of the evidence in the case.

The prosecution told the court that 10,000 tonnes of inert construction waste were placed at the site without authorisation by Dean's company, which paid the landowner Ir£50 to Ir£60 per lorry load.

The defence submitted this was a case of ‘licensing infelicity’ due to an honest mistake at a time when the Waste Management Act was being gradually implemented.

Shane Murphy SC said there was no risk of environmental pollution from the material Dean's company placed at the site.

Michael Cronin, Dean's accountant, told the court that Dean's company had been significantly reliant on the construction industry for its business and income had been heavily hit by the economic downturn.

Mr Cronin said Dean no longer drew a wage from the company and a third of the workforce had been laid off.

Judge Hogan remanded Dean on continuing bail until May when sentencing will be finalised.